Your First Look at Four New Features for 2021

As we look ahead to 2021, there are four Illinois features in the works that deserve a spot on your radar. Let’s take a look…

The 56th Chicago International Film Festival announced a slate of four narrative feature film projects in active development that will be pitched live in front of a virtual audience and a panel of distinguished industry judges during the Festival’s Industry Days on Sunday, October 18th.

This year’s filmmakers represent a diversity of voices that continue to reinforce the breadth and vitality of Chicago-area filmmakers and projects: from a sci-fi comedy horror film set in the suburbs to a drama set along the Mexico-American border, to the story of a sexual assault within a Black community and an estranged daughter in an Iraqi-American family who impersonates her recently deceased father.

This year’s Pitch will be hosted by IFA Chicago Executive Director and producer Angie Gaffney, and this year’s jury includes: Bronwyn Cornelius, producer of Sundance Film Festival Grand Jury Prize winner Clemency; Ilyse McKimmie, Deputy Director for Sundance Institute’s Feature Film Program; and Yvonne Huff Lee, co-CEO of Lagralane Group.

The Pitch at Industry Days will take place at 3pm Central on Sunday, October 18th, 2020. Click here to register for Industry Days.

Announcing the selected projects for 2020’s The Pitch at Industry Days:


After witnessing his father nearly beat a Mexican immigrant to death while patrolling the desert border, a thirteen-year-old boy growing up in the Arizona Border Militia finds solace in an unlikely place — the arms of the new undocumented migrant girl in town.

Director: Danny Mooney; Screenwriter: Anna Hozian; Producer: Dale Armin Johnson


After Sanaa, a rising racial justice organizer, is sexually assaulted by a fellow activist, she tries to push past her trauma and return to her normal life. The only thing standing in the way is her fianceé, Kendrick, an overprotective boxer who has his own idea of justice.

Writer/Director: Kyra Jones; Producer: Angellic Ross


In order to survive the night, a group of suburban housewives attempts to sort rumor from reality when their girls’ night is interrupted by an alien invasion.

Writer/Director: Zach Lorkiewicz; Producer: Grace Hahn


An outsider to her Iraqi/American family, runaway Izza Bet’Yusuf, returns home fifteen years later and reconnects to her estranged roots by impersonating her freshly dead father.

Writer/Lead Actor: Atra Asdou; Producer: Karla Huffman

More About THE PITCH

Past projects from The Pitch at Industry Days have gone onto completion, including Jennifer Reader’s SIGNATURE MOVE, and two films showing at last year’s Chicago International Film Festival: KNIVES AND SKIN, also directed by Jennifer Reeder, and Haroula Rose’s ONCE UPON A RIVER.

The winning pitch receives an awards package of in-kind goods and services worth tens of thousands of dollars. Contributors include Keslow Camera, IFA Chicago and The Story Stage at CineSpace, Chicago Media Angels, Ramo Law PC, and the Sundance Institute.

“Right now, during the pandemic, it’s the perfect time to develop, workshop, hone, and fine-tune feature film projects and make them great,” said Chicago International Film Festival and Industry Days Senior Programmer Anthony Kaufman. “The Pitch is a terrific way for the Festival to support and encourage local filmmakers and help push their projects forward.”

Congratulations to all four film teams, and please click here for more information on The Pitch.

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